I DISCOVERED SUFJAN STEVENS' ILLINOIS during a period in my life when my hometown was too small, an ill-fitting sweater. It was also a period in which I felt compelled to pin down the meaning of everything, so I spent a lot of time on songmeanings.com.
I CAME TO KNOW OF DAVE BAZAN and his music ventures through perhaps the most ironic way: a religious podcast on which Bazan explained his upbringing, his struggle with Christianity, and his eventual—and very public—disavowal of the faith that had defined his career.
NBC’s THE GOOD PLACE INITIALLY SETS ITSELF APART from the network sitcom lineup with a conceptually adventurous premise. Though it maintains the signature heart of Michael Schur’s other shows (The Office, Parks and Recreation), The Good Place moves the situations that spark comedy from the workplace to the afterlife and our lead characters are either dead or other worldly beings.
I WANT YOU TO TAKE A SECOND and think of your favorite album. If that’s too hard, which I would assume it is for so many of us, I want you to think of one that has impacted you incredibly in some way. It could’ve been the soundtrack for an awful or overwhelmingly happy time, or the album that changed the way you felt about someone or something.
I PUT MY FAITH ON A SHELF YEARS AGO. At fourteen, I began seeing a very sweet but wayward girl who acted in direct opposition to the stringent brand of Christianity her mother had built their life around. At the time it was difficult to reconcile the raw issues she was working through with the black and white simplicity of my church.
ON OCTOBER 25TH we were one month out. We would soon be celebrating the election of Hillary Clinton—childhood hero of Rory Gilmore—and watching Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, filling our hearts with the limited victories of progressivism while our eyes went bloodshot from binging.
I SAW LADY BIRD AT PERHAPS THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TIME for the film to just tear my heart to pieces. I had moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, seven months before, away from Chicago where I had done my last three years of growing up, and the Midwest, where I had done all of my growing up.
ARCADE FIRE'S NEWEST FULL-LENGTH RECORD, EVERYTHING NOW raises questions about the eerily steady growth of this removed, cellophane quality about the world. This is nothing new—the band has provided commentary on a range of big picture ideas throughout their musical history.
I ENJOY THE FEELING of belonging—an unromantic and pure intimacy with the things with which I choose to spend time. Maybe more than anything, I seek to find on the screen, and on a record, a mirror with which I can see myself more fondly.
I STARTED WATCHINGMad Men in March 2017 because I wanted to learn how to become a better person. I thought Don’s journey would educate me on the repercussions of lying and subtle manipulations. He knew his weaknesses, and for the most part, he chose to ignore them.
WHEN ANTONOFF BEGAN teasing Gone Now, Bleachers’ second full-length album, I began to look for signs of Strange Desire. The first single, “Don’t Take the Money”, had hints of Desire—it was raucous, fun, upbeat music with underpinnings of pain. It was familiar in the best way.